Keeping a lab notebook

For this course you will be required to keep a lab notebook. Everything related to your experiment should be recorded in the lab notebook. Often in physics experiments what is important is not apparent straight away, if you something important is not recorded it may be lost forever.

Some basic rules:

  • Pages in your notebook should be dated. It's not just important what happened it's also important when it happened.
  • Don't cram things in. Write legibly. Keep things well organized. The lab notebook should be able to be read easily, and not just by you!
  • Start by writing a short summary of what your objectives for the lab are. If appropriate draw sketches of your apparatus and how they relate to what you want to measure.
  • If you have computer printouts, be they graphs, tables, pictures, leave space for them when you make them and paste them in.
  • If you make mistakes, cross them out, but not so that what is there cannot be seen. Do not use white-out!
  • As well as your results your notebook should contain your conclusions and any observations you made in the laboratory. As well as calculating and recording estimates of the uncertainty in your results you should propose ways to improve the experiment and reduce the uncertainty.

We will collect lab notebooks on Friday afternoons (so you have a day to get them in order) and Mat will give you feedback. This feedback will be suggestions for improvement rather than a grade.

Remember that you will eventually have to turn your lab notes for some of your labs in to a full report, make sure that everything you need to do that is recorded!

phy141/labs/labnotebook.txt · Last modified: 2013/01/10 09:56 by mdawber
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